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Finland - Historical Flags (1920-1978)

Last modified: 2021-08-25 by christopher oehler
Keywords: finland: historical flags (1920-1978) | scandinavian cross | lion: with sword (yellow) | cross of freedom | mannerheim (gustaf) | marshall's staff | terijoki | zelenogorsk | kuusinen (otto wille) |
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Civil Flag (1920-1978)

Civil Flag (1920-1978) image by Željko Heimer
Proportions: 11:18 = (4:3:4) : (5+3+10) [FIS Code]
Adopted: 1920-02-12
Abolished: 1978-05-26

Editorial Note: The shade of blue differs from that of the current flag. although the proportions and other graphical information is the same

State Flag (1920-1978)

State Flag (1920-1978) image by Željko Heimer
Source: Flaggenbuch (1939) [neu39]
Proportions: 11:18 = (4+3+4):(5+3+10) [FIS Code]
Adopted: 12 February 1920
Abolished: 26 May 1978

White flag with blue cross and the Finnish coat of arms in the middle of the cross. Because Finland decided to be a republic instead of a monarchy, the government thought that the crown should be removed. The shield became almost a square. Lion's armoured arm and the blades of the weapons are coloured light grey but the roses are white. The shade of the blue became darker.
Ossi Raivio 25 October 1998

War Flag and Ensign (1920-1978)

War Flag and Ensign (1920-1978) image by Željko Heimer
Source: Flaggenbuch (1939) [neu39]
Proportions: 11:18 = (4+3+4):(5+3+10) [FIS Code]
Adopted: 12 February 1920
Abolished: 26 May 1978

Finnish Presidential Flag (1920-1944, 1946-1978)

Finnish Presidential Flag (1920-1944, 1946-1978) image by Željko Heimer
Ratio: 11:19 = (4+3+4):(5+3+5+6)
Adopted: 17 May 1920
Temporarily out of use: 1944-1946
Abolished: 26 May 1978
Source: Flaggenbuch (1939) [neu39]

Finnish swallow-tailed state flag with a blue-yellow Cross of Freedom 3rd Class for Civil Merits in the upper hoist. (But: a yellow disk in the middle, instead of the yellow rose used today [see the present presidential flag].)
by Ossi Raivio 27 October 1998

Presidential Pennant
Finnish Presidential Pennant image by Željko Heimer
Source: Flaggenbuch (1939) [neu39]

Finnish Presidential Flag (1944-1946)

Finnish Presidential Flag (1944-1946) image by Ossi Raivio 27 October 1998

Finnish swallow-tailed state flag with a special emblem in the upper hoist: two crossed blue-yellow Marshall's staffs (decorated with yellow-white Finnish lions).

Ratio: 11:19 = (4+3+4):(5+3+5+6)
Adopted: 1944
Abolished: 1946

Marshall of Finland, Baron Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim used this flag to symbolize his position as the High Commander of the army and the President of the Republic. When Juho Kusti Paasikivi was elected president by the parliament after the war, he re-adopted the former version of the flag.

I don't know the exact dates when this flag was adopted and abolished, but because C. G. E. Mannerheim was president from 4 August 1944 to 9 March 1946 these are quite good guesses.
Ossi Raivio

Coat of Arms

[Coat of arms from Flaggenbuch] image by Željko Heimer
Source: Flaggenbuch (1939) [neu39]

Finnish Democratic Republic 1939-1940

At the beginning of the Winter War (Nov./Dec. 1939) Kuusinen (leader of Finnish communist emigrants in the USSR) formed a communist government in Terijoki near the border with the USSR. This was (off course) recognized by the USSR as the legal Finnish government, although later the peace-treaty was signed with the government in Helsinki.

(Source: "Aanval op Finland" by Drs. Paul Luykx in "Bericht van de Tweede Wereldoorlog")

Mark Sensen, 29 May 1997

In 1939, in the wake of the Winter war, Stalin created the Finnish Democratic Republic as a puppet quisling regime and claimed this was the only legal government of Finland. Its leader was the Finnish communist Otto Wille Kuusinen. The regime was quietly let go of when the Soviets were not able to run over Finland and Kuusinen was instead given the Finnish-Karelian SSR.
The Finnish Democratic Republic would probably have had a flag, but I haven't found any information on this.
Elias Granqvist
, 8 December 2010

I've done a pretty extensive research on the subject and came to the conclusion there was only the standard flag of Finland used by the Terijoki (Kuusinen) regime of 1939-40. However, there is an emblem shown at: which may be of the "Finnish People's Republic" (the initials don't correspond with the official name "Finnish Democratic Republic"-Suomen kansanvaltainen tasavalta)

Chrystian Kretowicz, 8 December 2010

That symbol is most certainly anachronistic, since the lion used in the emblem has been identified as the official drawing of the lion made by Olof Eriksson in 1983, see Heraldica (in Swedish).

Elias Granqvist, 21 December 2010

Karelian-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic

The Karelian-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic was established in the Soviet Union on 31 March 1940 and combined the territory of the former Karelian ASSR with areas taken from Finland in the Winter War.

Jan Oskar Engene, 29 May 1997

The Karelian Isthmus was merged to the Russian SFSR after the wars, while other parts of Karelia was merged to the newly formed Karelian-Finnish SSR. Terijoki is situated in Russia since 1940/44 and is called Zelenogorsk in Russian. It is now a part of Kurortny District within the City of St. Petersburg.

Elias Granqvist, 28 December 2010